Calif. Has Lowest Rate of Children Prescribed Drugs for ADHD
California has the lowest percentage of children with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder who have been prescribed medication for the condition, according to a study published Wednesday in the Journal of Pediatrics, the Washington Post's "To Your Health" reports.
Details of Study
For the study, researchers used data from the 2009-2010 National Survey of Children With Special Health Care Needs. It included information on children ages four to 17.
According to "To Your Health," the study was the first national survey of children with ADHD.
According to the study, there were 6.4 million children in the U.S. -- or 11% of the child population -- with ADHD in 2011.
In its treatment guidelines, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended that:
- Preschool children under six years old who have been diagnosed with ADHD should undergo behavioral therapy before taking medication because of potential side effects on developing brains (Bernstein, "To Your Health," Washington Post, 4/1); and
- Children between ages six and 17 should undergo a combination of behavioral therapy and medication treatment (CDC release, 4/1).
Of those diagnosed with ADHD between ages four and 17, the study found that:
- 74% had received medication in the last week; and
- 44% had received behavioral therapy in the last week.
Meanwhile, among those diagnosed with ADHD between ages four and five:
- 53.2% had received behavioral therapy in the last year;
- 46.6% had received medication alone or in combination with behavioral therapy in the last week; and
- 21.4% received neither therapy nor medication in the last year.
Steven Cuffe, study co-author and chair of the psychiatry department at the University of Florida College of Medicine in Jacksonville, Fla., said, "We think there may be an issue with the availability of behavioral treatments for preschoolers" ("To Your Health," Washington Post, 4/1).
According to the study, California had the lowest rate of children with ADHD who were on medication for the condition, at 56.6%. In comparison, 87.5% of children with ADHD in Michigan were prescribed such medication.
The study also found that more than 13% of children with ADHD in California had used dietary supplements to treat the condition in the last year (Visser et al., Journal of Pediatrics, 4/1).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.